Disability transitions bill hope

Holyrood cropped

Plans which aim to secure better outcomes for young disabled people are moving forward 

22nd June 2020 by Gareth Jones 1 Comment

New legislation which aims to ensure young people living with a disability receive support with the transition to adulthood is being brought forward.

Labour MSP Johann Lamont has formally lodged a bill in the Scottish Parliament to ensure every disabled child with an impairment or long-term health condition has a right to a transition plan.

The bill requires the Scottish Government to introduce a national transitions strategy to improve outcomes for children and young people with a disability in the transition to adulthood and calls for the appointment of a minister with special responsibility for transitions.

Although every child is entitled to a child’s plan there is at present no statutory requirement to put a plan in place to assist disabled children and young people in their transition to adulthood.  As a result, the transitions for many disabled children and young people are often challenging, and consistently deliver poorer outcomes.  Support with transitions would then remain in place until no longer needed, or the young person’s 26th birthday.

Lamont said: “As a former teacher, I know only too well about the challenges faced by young people with a disability in moving on into further and higher education or finding work or training. Since 2008 the percentage of Scottish disabled people in employment has fallen. We need to do much more to assist young disabled people during this important and challenging time in their lives; my Bill aims to help address the problems they face and provide the additional support that they so desperately need.”

Kate Monahan, a parent whose son attends Camphill School Aberdeen, said: “Our family’s lived-experience of transition for our disabled son was prolonged, traumatic and inaccessible. The process appeared to have no proper framework, governance or safeguards. This added enormous extra distress to our already stressful lives at a moment of severe crisis. We support the bill for the sake of others who come after.”

“For years disabled young people have been gravely and unnecessarily disadvantaged at the crucial transition stage to adulthood,” said Neil Henery, director of Camphill Scotland. “This bill draws on robust research evidence and the compelling testimony of young disabled people themselves. It proposes clear and workable measures that will make a real and lasting difference to individual disabled young people, their families and wider society”.

Bill Scott, special policy adviser at Inclusion Scotland, added: “The measures outlined in this bill are needed now more than ever in order to avoid the long term scarring of young disabled people’s lives. Young disabled people are not asking for much.  Just a little help in taking their first steps in adult life.”

24th June 2020 by Lesley Clemenson

Great news, and well done to all concerned in raising issues faced by families too often forgotten at this vital time in young people lives.